A Boston Police Sergeant Has Released Photos Of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Meant To Show ‘The Real Boston Bomber’


On Wednesday we got our first look at the controversial Rolling Stone magazine cover that critics maintain glamorizes Boston Bomber suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as a “dreamy teen idol rock star”. In response to Rolling Stone’s decision to portray the bombing suspect in this way, a Boston Police Sergeant has released photos that he took of Tsarnaev on the night he was arrested for the deadly bombing. Sergeant Sean Murphy, the man who took and released the photos, tells Boston magazine that these photos show “the real Boston Bomber” and have been released in an effort to refute the alleged contention by Rolling Stone that Tsarnaev is a “fluffed and buffed” magazine coverstar. Boston Police, tho, want it known that they did NOT authorize the release of the photos, they will not be releasing the photos officially and they have relieved Sergeant Murphy from duty for one day with a full internal investigation to follow. Clearly this Rolling Stone magazine cover has affected a lot of people in very emotional ways. Click below to see the photos and learn more about Sergeant Murphy’s decision to release the photos.

A State Police sergeant, incensed by the controversial Rolling Stone magazine cover of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, has released dramatic photographs of the apprehension of the accused terrorist to a local magazine without permission from his agency. The pictures, taken by Sergeant Sean Murphy, a State Police tactical photographer who was working during the massive manhunt on April 19 in Watertown, first appeared Thursday afternoon on the website of Boston Magazine. Bostonglobe.com, Boston.com and other news outlets posted them afterward. Murphy told the magazine that the photos, which show Tsarnaev bloodied and with a police sniper’s laser-projected bead on his head, display “the real Boston bomber. Not someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.” The Rolling Stone cover, which critics say glamorized Tsarnaev, “was an insult to any person who has ever worn a uniform of any color or any police organization or military branch and the family members who have ever lost a loved one serving in the line of duty,” Murphy said. A State Police spokesman said Thursday night that Murphy had been relieved of duty for one day and will be subject to an internal investigation. “His duty status will be determined at a hearing in the near future,” said spokesman David Procopio. Procopio confirmed that Murphy took the photos in his official capacity, but he distributed them without permission. “Today’s dissemination to Boston Magazine of photographs of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and police activity related to his capture was not authorized by the Massachusetts State Police,” Procopio said in a statement. “The department will not release the photographs to media outlets.” A spokeswoman for US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, whose staff is prosecuting Tsarnaev, said State Police have indicated they will be “taking action” in response to the leak. “The release of these photos was completely unacceptable,” spokeswoman Christina DiIorio-Sterling said in a statement. Neither Procopio nor DiIorio-Sterling would say whether the photos have been entered as evidence in the pending case against Tsarnaev in federal court in Boston. He faces a slew of charges that could bring the death penalty for his alleged role in the bombings, which killed three, including a child from Dorchester, and wounded more than 260. Murphy could not be reached for comment Thursday, and Tsarnaev’s lawyers did not respond to inquiries.

Because the case against Tsarnaev is still taking shape the release of these photos could be problematic to his prosecution, tho, I don’t know if the impact would be of any consequence. I can understand why Sergeant Murphy angrily released the photos but, again, doing so in such an unprofessional way doesn’t really do much to help the overall case against Tsarnaev. In any event, it’s very clear that the Rolling Stone cover has garnered a lot of attention for the magazine which, I wholeheartedly believe, was the original intent by the mag. Whether he is painted as a “dreamy teen idol” or a bloodied and defeated criminal suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will have his day in court to face the very serious charges leveled against him. So, what do you think of these photos as opposed to the photo that Rolling Stone published? Does it change your mind one way or the other about the Boston Bombing suspect?

[Photo credit: Sean Murphy/Boston Magazine; Source, Source]

  • rOXy

    I hate his face no matter what. The sight of him makes my stomach churn and I feel sick for hours.

  • Krissy

    I think those that idolize him will do so no matter how he is featured. He isn’t ugly, and seeing him bloody doesn’t change that. Perhaps these photos will make his “fans” think of him more like a Jason Bourne character, or a victim.

    The RS cover was just a picture of his face. Facts presented plainly, imo. I think it is startling for society to see monsters don’t always look like monsters, but it is a lesson we need to learn.

  • Emily

    I live in Cambridge, 10 min from where the guys lived and 5 min from where they went to school (I donated to the scholarship program the year he got it, so some of money might have gone to him.) I feel very confused and hurt. Cambridge is a very educated, open minded, liberal area and his high school often talked about diversity and respecting other cultures. We are just so confused about how he got indoctrinated. I like to read all I can on him to try and understand. So I would have been excited about reading the RS article to get some more insight. However, I’m so disgusted by RS’ obvious sensationalism I won’t read it (or anything they put out in the future for that matter.) I have no prob with telling his story, I just have a huge problem with the way they’re doing it. (Releasing the cover before the article to build hype.) The MA police officer who released the photos – I totally get it. I get his anger. I get his confusion. I get his urge to release these pics the public would likely never see.
    RS’ cover reminds me of Matt Lauer’s treatment of Trayvon Martin’s parents. RS and ML need to realize this isn’t some pop culture thing like a celebrity getting put of rehab. It’s not bubbly. it’s serious. Trayvon’s story and the Boston Bombing story need to be handled with respect and decorum, not sleazy people looking to make a couple bucks off other people’s misery.

    • Lauren xx

      Agreed. 100% agreed with everything you said.

      It’s so hard to move past this knowing that major publications are gunning for profits with the excuse that it’s journalism. Let the story speak for itself and leave the sleazy tactics for the tabloids.

    • rOXy

      Agree the RS crossed the line on this one. They are blatantly unapologetic about the sensationalism and hype. Is it to sell mags? Or is it the grim underbelly of a media controlled by, in the least, companies who support terrorism? Who are the investors in RS? How many layers do we have to peel back to uncover the truth? Any publication that presents an argument that justifies an act of war and terror against American gives themselves cause to be suspect. I hope this is their destruction.

    • Kyle Michel Sullivan

      So, Roxy, do you mean like the Saudi Royal Family being a major investor in Fox News, when Osama bin Laden was one of them and 15 of the 19 hijackers in 9/11 were Saudi Arabians? And how they keep giving to other groups known to be terrorists? Hmm, wonder what the agenda is there…

    • Brian

      So let me see if I understand: You haven’t read the article, refuse to read the article, and yet you are absolutely sure that it’s about “pop culture,” that they treated it “bubbly” and weren’t “serious”?

      Such powerful psychic powers you must have.

  • Emily

    Thanks Brian for your input and compliment. I’m hella psychic. Being in the marketing industry, I know exactly what tricks companies use to shill their products and RS is using bottom of the barrel tricks. I’m psychic enough to know I don’t have to support those antics.
    PS – I’m not absolutely sure of anything, but I really appreciate you giving me that credit. Please reread my statement though, I never said that the article was bubbly and about pop culture. I said their treatment of the issue is too lighthearted for the seriousness involved, like Matt Lauer’s treatment of Trayvon Martin’s parents.

  • Kyle Michel Sullivan

    It’s the same damn selfie-photo “The NY Times” put on its front page not that long ago, but everyone’s pissing and moaning because it’s now on “Rolling Stone”? Illustrating an article that’s damning in how it shows we aren’t handling terrorism in the right way? Why didn’t Murphy pull his crap on the NYT? His claims of being indignant ring hollow, at best.